Juvenile Law Center

Youth Fostering Change

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If you are interested in getting involved with Youth Fostering Change or using one of our products—like the Teen Success Agreement—please contact Cathy Moffa at [email protected].

Youth Fostering Change, one of our youth engagement programs, offers youth who are currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system the opportunity to evaluate the system and develop and implement a campaign that works toward reform. Each year, Youth Fostering Change Youth Advocates select an area of focus, determine a strategy to address it, and implement their project. Along the way, Juvenile Law Center provides essential support, ensuring that the participants develop the skills they need to succeed.

 


Empowering Youth to Attend and Participate in Dependency Court

This year, Youth Fostering Change focused on empowering youth in dependency court, specifically by removing barriers attendance and active participation. Pennsylvania law requires all youth in foster care to attend regular court hearings, but youth advocates had very different experiences in court. They were not encouraged to attend their hearings, and when they did attend, the process was very confusing and intimidating. As a result, major decisions were made about young people’s lives without either their presence or input.

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Improving Access to Higher Education for Foster Youth

From 2015-2016, Youth Fostering Change has been working to improve access to higher education for foster youthFoster youth have a more difficult path towards higher education, and the youth advocates' goal was to make it easier for foster youth to prepare for, attend, and graduate from college. Less than 3% of former foster youth earn a college degree by age 25, but they should have an equal chance to pursue college and become more independent, stable young adults.

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"A Home of Our Own: Youth Recommendations to Reduce Youth Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of the Child Welfare System"

From 2014-2015, Youth Fostering Change focused on the issue of homelessness of youth aging out of the child welfare system. Our advocates
recognized that most of them had either experienced homelessness or were in fear of becoming homeless at some point in their young adult life. They decided to create recommendations to reduce youth homelessness, including: increasing supportive, permanent adult connections for older youth in care; more comprehensive transition planning; and more supportive housing programs for youth leaving care.

Download a pdf of A Home of Our Own: Youth Recommendations to Reduce Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of the Child Welfare System here.

Our youth advocates also worked in collaboration with video production experts at Temple University's University Community Collaborative to create a video to raise awareness about the face of youth homelessness.

 

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One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before. Support